The engine sounds and the dust from a Combine Harvester sticks to the hot hair on a typical summer’s day in Canterbury, it is harvesting time, time for cropping farmers to reap the rewards of their hard work. This year, farmers are happy with their crops and the progress being made, despite the challenging weather conditions that we have had this year.
Before any Combines get out of the shed, the farmer needs to make sure that the crops are fit for harvesting. A simple moisture test of the ripening grain, tells if the crop is ready or not. If the moisture content of the grain is below 14%, it means that they can harvest the crop and store it in silos for 12 months or more and it won’t compromise the barley germination vigour or quality. If the moisture content of the barley is above 14% they have to wait for the sun to work its magic, hence the importance of a hot summer!
Here at Gladfield farm, harvesting time is fun. It is the time that Doug and I get to work together on the farm just like the old times. It is a two person job to harvest the Gladfield crops, one to drive the Combine and another to drive the bulk grain truck which carries the grain harvested, to the elevator pit and from there it goes into the silos.
For Gladfield maltings it is also a time to do a lot of barley sample testing on the newly harvested grains. Caleb DeFrees, the production manager and laboratory technician is busy doing the necessary tests to ensure that the barley will perform in the maltings. The tests that Caleb does include: moisture levels, protein levels, screening percentage and germination tests of the grain. All are very important information to know, before we start malting the new season’s barley.
All this attention to detail and time spent on making sure that the barley is harvested under the right conditions will ensure that, home brewers and pro brewers will get a chance to brew with the World’s Best Pure Malt, and that will make a world of difference in brewing the best ever beer!